This article describes how the Advion expression® Compact Mass Spectrometer (CMS) coupled with the Advion AVANT™ UHPLC (LC/CMS) was employed to quantify the cannabinoid concentration in commercially supplied CBD oils for a comparative study against the labels of the products.
The research in this article was published in the Cannabis Science and Technology Magazine May/June 2019 and presented at the 2019 Cannabis Science Conference East in Baltimore, MD.
Cannabinoids are analyzed for concentration against the claims of product labels for a comparative study utilizing separation from the Advion AVANT UHPLC coupled to the Advion expression Compact Mass Spectrometer (CMS).
Selected ion monitoring (SIM) LC/CMS evaluation of several samples of CBD oil from three alternate sources was utilized to contrast concentrations with other third party claims of analytical laboratories:
- 13 commercial veterinary medicinal CBD oils by Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine
- 10 CBD oils from a commercial cannabis and hemp producer
- One CBD oil commercially available for human consumption supplied with a certificate of analysis
Confusing Labeling of Veterinary CBD
Image Credit: Advion
Figure 1. SIM LC/CMS total selected ion current chromatogram for veterinary CBD oil sample Number 8. In the order of LC/CMS elution time, the quantities measured in mg/ mL were: CBDA = 0.291; CBG = 0.274; CBD = 15.5; CBD = 0.062; THC = 0.348; THCA = 0.180. Image Credit: Advion
Table 1. Summary of veterinary CBD oil concentrations for the six cannabinoids measured in Samples 1-13. Concentrations are mg/mL of indicated cannabinoid. It should be noted that Sample 6 was a crude hemp leaf extract without subsequent sample cleanup or concentration. Source: Advion
Figure 2. A comparison of the CBD concentration in all 13 medicinal oil samples determined by SIM LC/CMS against the indicated levels on the respective product label. It was not possible to know the labeled CBD concentrations for Samples 1, 2, 6, and 8 due to the units used, which was indicated to be mg of hemp extract/mL. Image Credit: Advion
Figure 3. A comparison plot of the THC concentration in parts per million (ppm) for each of the 13 medicinal veterinary CBD oils relative to the Canadian acceptance level, which limits the THC concentration to 10 ppm. Image Credit: Advion
Figure 4. (A) SIM LC/CMS chromatogram for medicinal oil Sample 6, which as shown in Figure 3 had a THC concentration just above the 10 ppm allowed level. (B) THC peak in Sample 12 is a much more abundant component relative to the other cannabinoids, again with the exception being the CBD peak at 1.68 minute retention time. Note that the y-scale in both Figure 4A and 4B is the same, so the reader can directly compare the relative quantities of THC in these two samples. Image Credit: Advion
Table 2. Analytical results of a blind test for the concentrations of five indicated cannabinoids from an anonymous grower. The grower used heated extraction to increase the concentrations of CBD and THC. Sample 10 is a cannabis extract. Source: Advion
Table 3. Analytical results for the concentrations of six indicated cannabinoids from a different medicinal product by three independent labs. The second column summaries the results obtained by this laboratory while Columns 3 and 4 are the analytical results from two other independent laboratories labeled here as Lab 1 and 2. Source: Advion
An important observation is that the chemical investigation of the commercial oils indicates that the labeled contents on the bottle may vary greatly from the exact contents established by chemical evaluation.
These results propose that commercial vendors should, in the future, procure independent chemical investigations of their products so that customers will have trust in the therapeutic advantages and composition of the products.
References and Further Reading
Analysis of veterinary hemp-based oils for product integrity by LC/MS, Cannabis Science & Technology, May/ June 2019, 36-45. In Press.
Produced from materials originally authored by Ben Nie1, Jack D. Henion1, and Joe Wakshlag2 from Advion, Inc.1 and University of Florida, College of Veterinary Medicine2.
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